Westminster says goodbye to four Jewish MPs on emotional final day

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Westminster says goodbye to four Jewish MPs on emotional final day

Robert Halfon, Dame Margaret and Andrew Percy give final speeches in the Commons before standing down, while a fourth Jewish MP Sir Michael Ellis also announces he is stepping down

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Four Jewish MPs make their final Westminster speeches in the Commons
Four Jewish MPs make their final Westminster speeches in the Commons

Three Jewish MPs were among those to give their final speeches in the Commons on Friday, while a fourth announced he was stepping down ahead of the general election.

Former Conservative minister Robert Halfon, and Dame Margaret Hodge, one of the most outspoken campaigners against antisemitism in Labour under its former leader, and the often fearless MP Andrew Percy, all gave valedictory speeches in the Commons.

Sir Michael Ellis, the Conservative Party’s most senior Jewish MPs has also announced he is to stand down ahead of the general election.

Sir Michael Ellis

The MP for Northampton North said it had been “an extremely difficult decision” but “now is the time for a new candidate to seek the nomination to have the honour to represent the seat under the new boundaries.”

The former attorney general has represented the constituency since 2010, and has been an outspoken defender of both Israel and the community during this time.

In January he condemned South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice saying it “has no legal merit whatsoever” and claimed the country is itself “in danger of becoming a terrorist proxy”.

On Friday Dame Margaret Hodge, out-going MP for Barking for 30 years, spoke of her pride at becoming an MP “to play my little part in the making the world a better place.”

Dame Margaret Hodge, Parliamentary Chair of the Jewish Labour Movement, during a press conference by the JLM at the offices of Mishcon de Reya in London, following the publication of damming anti-Semitism report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

A Jewish Labour Movement parliamentary chair, Hodge said:”Politics matters. What we decide here can make a difference.”

She described leaving the Commons as “bittersweet” and that it was the “privilege of my life” to be an MP.Meanwhile, former Tory minister Robert Halfon also gave another fine speech as he stepped down from Westminster politics, where he has been a strong supporter of the Conservative Friends of Israel group.

Halfon, who uses a Segway called for improvements in Westminster to ensure access is better for all in the building.

The outgoing Harlow MP also urged his party to return to “compassionate” politics, based around the goal of “social justice.”

Robert Halfon

Andrew Percy, the departing Tory MP for Brigg and Goole, also delivered his own final Commons speech.

He spoke of being a “working class lad” given this “wonderful opportunity” to serve in parliament.

Conservative MP Andrew Percy (Screengrab)

Percy described the Tory Party as “a family, a thoroughly disfunctional family.”

He praised the work of the Antisemitism Trust under chief exec Danny Stone, and also warned about the rise of “Jew-hate” in society.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: